Wednesday, July 11, 2012
An Opposing View On The Value Of Tenure #3
Tenure provides protections not covered by other state and federal laws in the area of academic freedom. Academic freedom is more than just free speech. Historically, education has been a tool for those with wealth and power to maintain that wealth and power, but in recent times it has also become the means for hard-working citizens to improve their economic and class standing. Today these two functions are often at odds with each other as those who already have wealth and/or power would prefer that they maintain a monopoly. Consequently, political leaders and other powerful outsiders often try to pressure educational institutions and educators to alter curriculum and admissions in ways that channel or even block the second function. But in a country such as ours where merit and hard work are to be the measure of success, limits on curriculum and access are an anathema. To stop this from happening academic freedom must also cover faculty’s ability to say no to powerful outside meddlers; without tenure this won’t happen.